Who is India's youngest businessman


Opposites and potentials

India is a land of contrasts. Measured in terms of the US economy, it is the seventh largest, and measured in terms of purchasing power of the currency, the sixth largest economic power on earth. If you take the gross national product (GNP) per capita as a benchmark, India is one of the poorest countries in the world. The relatively high illiteracy rate of 48 percent of the adult population is offset by the fact that India, despite the many different national languages the largest English speaking community in the world represents what compares to foreign investors other Asian countries means a considerable relief. The well-developed network of Indian research institutions and the high standards of some Indian universities are internationally recognized. The potential of over four million academically and technically qualified people attracts foreign investors with low wage costs. In recent times, the relatively low environmental requirements have also been important arguments for investing. With a population of just under a billion, India also represents a huge market: That alone will increase to 150 to 300 million affluent middle class valued. On the other hand, between 1981-1995, 52.5 percent of the population was still living on less than one US dollar a day.

In 1995, 75 percent of the Indian population lived in rural areas, 29 percent of the GNP were in generated by agriculture in the same year. Nonetheless, India has seen considerable industrialization. As a result of the import substitution policy of the past, the country has many of its own Industries, however, often due to outdated technology and low Demand orientation are marked.

India is a country of different speeds. While time still seems to stand still in the country, some regions and the big cities are experiencing rapid progress. There is also considerable economic and social disparity between the 25 Indian states. In Bombay and Bangalore, for example, one encounters conditions approaching those of the "Tiger" states, while the poorest regions such as the northern Indian state of Bihar India are still clearly recognizable as developing countries If the country is rather skeptical about opening up the country, there is an up-and-coming class of young, well-educated Indians, often with international experience, who are modern and open to foreign countries. These progressive and very willing people have attracted attention, especially in the software industry.

As the largest democracy in the world, India has recently made headlines primarily because of its political instability. Despite frequent changes of government and the current unstable power constellation of the 15-party coalition, the economic policy reforms initiated at the beginning of the 1990s as a result of a balance of payments crisis are being pursued in their basic direction. The current finance minister P. Chidambaram is considered liberalizing and has not only been praised in India for his last state budget. Democratic decision-making in politics generally leads to decisions being taken slowly, gradually and not radically. For this, however, the decisions are made on the basis of a broad consensus, so that they are not completely rejected again after the next election. Against this background, can India hold its own in international competition?

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | May 1999